SMP23003 Launching West African cowpea as ingredient and consumer food in the EU

The objective of the project is to develop the basis for launching West African cowpea as ingredient and consumer food in the EU.

The protein transition that is needed for making European food systems more sustainable brings the need to diversify the ingredient base for plant food. In 2022, an SMP successfully addressed the business interest in European sourcing. This SMP explores import opportunities from global markets.

Pulses from West Africa represent a valuable potential addition to the current palette. Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is an African annual crop, grown mainly in semiarid tropical regions. Its well-known variety black-eyed beans is a staple for West Africans, also among the diaspora community in Europe, where it is used in different ways, e.g. as thickener for soups, flour for bean cake, in local dish moin moin and pealed.


Cowpea flour has untapped potential as functional ingredient with properties such as high solubility and foam stability. For this reason, this project exploits the emerging interest in the use of cowpea for dairy substitutes, smoothies, bakery products, meat replacers, targeting a new clientele that focuses on healthy eating or foods from sustainable sources (like vegetarians and vegans) or with designated cultural origins.